All Cornell University business travel is subject to University Policy 3.2, Travel Expenses. University business travel funded by a sponsored award may have additional or more specific requirements, as defined by sponsor rules. In all cases, Cornell University travel must comply with the more restrictive of these requirements. Additionally, some awards from the State of New York (NYS) invoke the Office of the State Comptroller Travel Manual (“NYS Travel Manual”). Travel on these awards must comply with Cornell's policy as well as the NYS travel manual.
This document outlines major differences between the University Policy 3.2, Travel Expenses, and the NYS travel manual. Remember that the latter applies only where the award specifically invokes the NYS travel manual. If you have any questions regarding the NYS travel requirements please contact us.
NYS rules define travel status as being at least 35 miles away from both one’s home and one’s regular work site. If circumstances do not meet this definition, the traveler is considered to be traveling in the proximity of the regular worksite.
When one is traveling in the proximity of the worksite, normally neither meals nor lodging are reimbursed. Mileage cost is reimbursable, using either the distance between the traveler’s home and the alternate worksite or the traveler’s normal worksite and the alternate worksite, whichever is less.
Cornell’s policies do not authorize the use of per diem for lodging, nor the payment of lodging costs when no cost was incurred (e.g., staying with friends or relatives). Therefore, you may not use the NYS “Unreceipted Method” (Method 1). All overnight travel must use the “Receipted Method” (Method 2), although receipts are not required in some cases.
Receipts are required for lodging, and reimbursable costs under NYS rules are limited to the federal per diem rates for the travel region, exclusive of taxes. The balance of the lodging costs must be charged to non-sponsored funds.
Receipts are not required for meals, which are reimbursed at the federal per diem rates for the travel region. However, NYS divides the federal per diem rates differently, and does not consider lunch as reimbursable. The table below shows the breakdown of the per diem.
Per diem for incidentals may be claimed for all overnight travel. All per diems on the first and last day of travel are subject to reduction in accordance with university policy.
|Federal Meal and Incidentals Per Diem Amount||Incidentals Amount||Total Meal
For example, the current per diem rates for Buffalo are $104 for lodging, and $64 for meals and incidentals. In this example the maximum lodging charge is $104 plus tax per night, and a fixed allowance of $5 for incidentals and $59 for meals is provided. Where per diem is adjusted, for provided meals or other reasons, breakfast is valued at $11, and dinner at $43.
Foreign travel uses a similar practice of lodging capped at the federal rate, provision of the incidental expenses of the per diem and the allocation of the meal per diem with 20% for breakfast and 80% for dinner.
Breakfast may be claimed with receipts up to the applicable federal per diem, apportioned using the NYS method above, if travel begins at least one hour before normal workday.
Dinner may be claimed with receipts up to the applicable federal per diem, apportioned using the NYS method above, if travel ends at least two hours after normal workday.
Without receipts, the limit is $5 for breakfast and $12 for dinner.
As with overnight travel, no claim may be made for lunch, as the state considers this to be a personal expense.